A Father’s Responsibility
On the lighter side of life: “Dad’s Duck Tape” from Bluefish TV
Opening Illustration: From Blue Fish TV – “Thanks Dad”
Thesis: A father has the responsibility to spend time with their children, be men of honor for their family and be their child’s best teacher.
Deut. 6:4-8: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
I Thess. 2:11-12: “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
Hebrews 12:7-11: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
One Neat Dad from a Treasury of Bible Illustrations:
Did you ever notice in the TV family The Walton’s how the father was always available; or in Little House on The Prairie, how Laura’s dad was always there for the tight squeezes? Contrast these situations with the modern dad who is gone from morning to night. Things have certainly changed since the 1930s and the earlier house on the prairie days, maybe too much. Years ago, Dr. Charlie Shedd held a contest called “One Neat Dad.” He asked contestants to send in letters recommending their dad for this great honor. Here’s a list of the ten most appreciated qualities for “One Neat Dad.”
1. He takes time for me.
2. He listens to me.
3. He plays with me.
4. He invites me to go places with him.
5. He lets me help him.
6. He treats my mother well.
7. He lets me say what I think.
8. He is nice to my friends.
9. He only punishes me when I deserve it.
10. He is not afraid to admit when he is wrong.
Qualities one to five are versions of the single word, “time!” Spell it—listen, spell it—play, spell it—help me, spell it—jump in the pickup … it all comes out in the same four letters, T-I-M-E. Time was the most appreciated trait of “One Neat Dad”!
Fathers.com states the following about the necessity of father’s being dads to their children:
Studies have conclusively shown that children who receive higher levels of attention and interaction with their fathers are healthier and better adjusted than children without fathers or with dads who are uninvolved. According to a 1990 study, children with highly involved fathers are:
• More confident and less anxious when placed in unfamiliar settings,
• Better able to deal with frustration,
• Better able to adapt to changing circumstances and breaks from their routine, and
• Better able to gain a sense of independence and an identity outside the mother/child relationship.
A Harvard university study spanning twenty-six years adds several more benefits for children of involved fathers:
* They are more likely to mature into compassionate adults.
* They are more likely to have higher self-esteems and grade point averages.
* They are more sociable.
Most of us will not be greatly surprised by these statistics. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand that involvement is critical. Asked for a quick answer on how to improve a father’s relationship with his children, any reasonable man will almost certainly say, "Spend more time with them." The simple, instinctive reaction of a committed father is to be involved in the lives of his children. Involvement is so basic that you can’t even be an average dad, let alone a good or highly effective one, without it (From Fathers.com)
I. A Father’s number one responsibility is to be there for their children.
a. Parenting is to be the number one job for parents and this especially means dad’s too.
i. Quote: “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”
ii. George Barna in his book Revolutionary Parenting states this, “A final condition for success that we discovered is that those who produce spiritual champions embrace parenting as their primary job. The nature of who their children will become assumes such importance that these parents recognize that their career is a means to the end of raising progeny who please God. Combines with the realization that effective parenting is conducted ‘in the moment,’ this means that parenting is their full time job; the job they get paid to do is simply an addendum to the most important work they will do in life” (24).
iii. The Treasury of Bible Illustrations share this recent research with us about the amount of time that father’s in America spend with their children:
1. A nationwide survey was taken recently to determine how much time fathers were spending with their children. The results were astounding. Fathers with children between the ages of 2 and 12 were spending 12 minutes a day with their children. Twelve-minute dads contribute greatly to 12-year-old delinquents. But not all dads are 12-minute dads. A busload of dads and sons left a church parking lot for an overnight camping trip. The dads represented various vocations, but they all had one thing in common: they did not want to be 12-minute dads. You cannot substitute a popsicle for pop himself, though both may have their places. Whether it be a car or a candy bar, a fishing rod or a hot rod, you cannot substitute these “presents” for the “presence.” America is standing at a crossroads of history; our very survival as a nation may depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in millions of homes; leadership in the form of loving authority; leadership in the form of financial management; leadership in the form of spiritual training and leadership in maintaining good marital relationships.
b. Fathers.com shares this insight about absentee father’s as presented by Henri Nouwen, a parish priest and author, he accurately predicted in the seventies that the coming generation would be known by its sense of inwardness, convulsiveness, and fatherlessness. Consider the legacy of the disappearing father. Fatherlessness, either through physical or emotional absence, has had the following effects:
i. Fatherless children are more likely to commit crimes and engage in substance abuse. A 1994 report from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services found just 12 percent of the delinquents in state custody were from a two-parent family. A 1980 study of female delinquents in the California Youth Authority found just 7 percent came from intact families.
ii. On average, fatherless children score lower on tests and have lower grade point averages. Family scholar Barbara Dafoe Whitehead says, "Even after controlling for race, income and religion, scholars find significant differences in educational attainment between children who grow up in intact families and children who do not."
iii. Children in father-absent families are five times more likely to be poor and ten times more likely to be extremely poor.
iv. Adolescents in mother-only families are more likely to be sexually active, and daughters are more likely to become single-parent mothers. But the poison goes even deeper. "Broken homes contribute to as many as 3 in 4 teen suicides and 4 in 5 psychiatric admissions." The statistics can try to measure the tragedy, yet they can never capture the personal pain of thousands. Such as Cathy. One of Cathy’s earliest memories was climbing up into the window seat of her bedroom and waiting for the lights of her father’s car to pull into the family’s driveway. She remembers both fear and longing, a sort of sick feeling. Fear, because he was loud and drunk and often abusive with her and her mother. Longing, because . . . well, just because he was her daddy. "I remember just wanting to crawl up in my daddy’s lap and just feel safe," she says. "He never let me do that." Cathy is now thirty-eight and struggles with her own identity and feels worthless.
c. Once again Fathers.com shares the statistics from some of their studies on the Effects of Father Absence:
i. Millions of father-absent or father-neglect families carry on successfully. But few would say that they would not be stronger by having two caring and cooperative parents. The importance of fathers to the well-being of children is clearly shown by the variety of negative effects experienced by children of father-absent families, as reported by research.
1. - Half of the mother-only families live below the poverty line.
- The income of mothers in single-parent families one year after divorce is 67% of what it was prior to divorce, while income of divorced men falls to around 90% of pre-divorce income.
- Mother-only families move more frequently than two-parent families, subjecting the family to more adjustment stress and less stability in neighborhood relationships.
- Adolescents from mother-only families are more likely to be sexually active, and daughters are more likely to become single-parent mothers.
- Adolescents report receiving less help with homework and make decisions under less parental supervision in general than do adolescents from two-parent families.
- Adolescents in mother-only families report being more susceptible to peer pressure than adolescents in two-parent families.
- Adolescents in mother-only families are more likely to commit delinquent acts.
- Children from mother-only families did less well on standardized tests of cognitive development. Their difference in comparison to children from two-parent families was even greater on teacher evaluations such as grade-point averages and reports of behavioral problems in schools and with peers.
- Absence from school was higher for children from mother-only families.
- Girls from mother-only families are more likely to become depressed during adolescence and also express more aggression than other girls.
- Young adults who grew up in mother-only families were more likely to drop out of high school.
- Young adults who grew up in mother-only families have lower earnings; girls are more likely to receive welfare.
- Young adults from mother-only families are more likely to divorce.
- Young adults from mother-only families are more likely to commit delinquent acts and to engage in drug and alcohol use than offspring from two-parent families.
2. This author adds – “Three theories attempt to explain the negative effects from mother-only families: Economic deprivation, differences in parental values and childrearing practices, deprivation in neighborhood stimulation and support. All help to explain some aspects of the differences, but the basic fact is that FAMILIES WITHOUT A FATHER PRESENT SUFFER MANY AND GREAT DISADVANTAGES.”
T.S. – Father’s need to understand that the best gift you can give to your children is time because it is the most valuable commodity you can give. Fathers also have to be men of honor for the sake of their families.
II. Father’s need to be men of honor for their families.
a. Men of honor have the following character traits and attributes:
i. This means that they are men of integrity.
1. Definition: Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive; used especially with reference to the fulfillment of contracts, the discharge of agencies, trusts, and the like; uprightness; rectitude.
ii. This means that they are spiritual leaders.
1. They are individuals who lead by serving their family and they point their family toward God and His ways.
iii. This means that they are men of righteousness.
1. They have right standing with God.
iv. This means that they are Christ like.
1. They seek to become more like Jesus every day.
v. This means that they are excellent role models.
1. A Christian’s Reputation from a treasury of Bible Illustrations:
a. The story is told of Gordon Maxwell, missionary to India, that when he asked a Hindu scholar to teach him the language, the Hindu replied: “No, Sahib, I will not teach you my language. You would make me a Christian.” Gordon Maxwell replied, “You misunderstand me. I am simply asking you to teach me your language.” Again the Hindu responded, “No, Sahib, I will not teach you. No man can live with you and not become a Christian.” Gordon Maxwell’s reputation as a Christian preceded him. His very lifestyle attracted people to Christ. And so it was with the Apostle Paul and his two missionary companions, Silas and Timothy. Saint Francis of Assisi captured their philosophy of evangelism when he said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless we preach as we walk!”
vi. This means that they are ones worthy of respect.
1. A Treasury of Biblical Illustration shares this though about The God-Image in Fathers:
a. It has been said a child is not likely to find a Father in God unless he finds something of God in his father. A Bible school teacher asked her class to draw a picture of God for her. A little boy finished first and said, “I drew a picture of my daddy because I don’t know what God looks like, but I know what my dad looks like.” (What a great responsibility we fathers have). It is so important for us to be the kind of parents that will make our children want to honor their father and mother (Eph. 6:1-4).
vii. This means that they are ones who live a life worthy of distinction and admiration from others.
1. John Dresher, in his book, If I Were Starting My Family Again, Abingdon (1979), lists a number of things he would do differently if he had a chance to perform the duties of fatherhood all over again:
a. I would love the mother of my children more.
b. I would listen more.
c. I would seek more opportunities to give my child a sense of belonging.
d. I would express words of appreciation and praise more often.
e. I would spend more time together with the family.
f. I would laugh more.
b. A story of a man who became known as one of the greatest founding father’s of our nation:
i. George is known as a man who possessed all the qualities we have explored above.
ii. George Washington – the father of our nation.
1. George Washington was a general who led the Continental Army--the first army of the American Colonies--in the French and Indian War, and then in the American Revolution. He later made his mark as the first president of the United States of America. As father of our country, George Washington is one of our greatest heroes.
iii. Let’s look at 7 ways that this great leader impacted others and this nation as a General, President and family man.
1. President Washington was a Man of prayer.
a. His 1st point of action is recalled by a few of his fellow soldiers and closest friends and family: He was a man of prayer!
b. The U.S. Capitol has a private chapel for congressmen in which there is a stained glass window showing Washington at Valley Forge Praying. The glass window is entitled ‘Washington’s Gethsemane” (Eidsmoe, 113).
c. In the winter of 1777, at Valley Forge a man by the name of Potts observed General Washington praying earnestly to the Lord for his army, and for wisdom and direction. It is recorded by Potts, ‘If George Washington be not a man of God, I am greatly deceived-and still more shall I be deceived if God do not, through him, work out a great salvation for America (Weems, Life of George Washington published 1800).
d. There are numerous references to Washington being a man of prayer.
e. General Hamilton referenced in his writings that Washington’s regular habit was being on his knees in prayer (Eidsmoe page 136)
f. It is stated by his family that the he always said grace before a meal and if a clergy was present they were asked to pray (Eidsmoe, 136).
g. His stepdaughter Nelly Custis told historian Jared Sparks, “When my aunt, Miss Custis , died suddenly at Mount Vernon he knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery…” (Eidsmoe, 141)
h. She also noted, “It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun, and remained in his library until called for breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them…His life, his writings, prove that he was a Chrisitian. He was not one of those who act or pray, ‘That they may be seen of men.’ He communed with his God in secret (Eidsmoe, pg. 141).
c. George Washington was a man of action because he faithfully attended church on Sunday. This is his 2nd point of action. The only times he missed was if some important national business came up of if weather did not permit.
i. Nelly said, “General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church…his pew was near the pulpit… (Eidsmoe, pg. 1400).
ii. George note only attended church but he encouraged - even ordered his soldiers and officers to do the same.
1. He knew that if his army was not in tune with God they would lose the battle to the English.
2. He wanted an army of Christians devoted to the Lord and giving him his due honor on Sunday because he knew then he had an advantage over the enemy.
3. He was an avid Bible reader he knew that if God was 1st in the nation’s life then blessings would come on the nation. If he was not first and ridiculed and blasphemed then cursing would come on the nation and its army.
4. Deut. 11:26-28: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.”
5. He knew the value of attending church faithfully.
a. He wanted what was best for his family, his nation.
6. It is said that if he could not make a church service due to weather or US business he would have a service right were he was.
7. Rev. Lee Massey stated this about him after his death:
a. I never knew so constant an attendant on church as Washington, and his behavior in the house of God was ever so deeply reverential that it produced the happiest effects on my congregation, and greatly assisted me in pulpit labors…
8. He honored God on the Sabbath! The result was God honored and protected him through battles and service to his country.
d. George Washington also knew the value of fasting combined with prayer. His 3rd point of action was he was a man who knew how to fast.
i. On June 1, 1774 as the Colonies were seeking God’s will as to whether they should make a break with England George entered this in his diary, “Went to church and fasted all day.”
ii. He knew that through the discipline of fasting he could receive direction for major decisions he had to make.
1. Both in Battle
2. In leadership of his army
3. In personal decisions
4. In decisions related to the United States
e. George Washington was also a man who knew the importance of giving thanks to the Lord for His blessings. His 4th point of action was he called for national times of Thanksgiving to be given to God.
i. He was a man who knew the value of thanking the Lord for his divine protection.
ii. He probably read these Scriptures and allowed the Lord to show him the value of giving thanks for God’s blessing.
1. I Chronicles 16:8: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”
2. Psalm 100:4: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
3. I Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
iii. He issued a National Day of Thanksgiving on Oct. 3, 1789.
1. “Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, humbly implore his protection and favor…”
iv. He did the same Jan. 1, 1795, “It is an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced. Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer….”
v. He at many points in his leadership challenged and created national or local days of giving thanks to the Divine Protector for His blessings.
f. George Washington was a husband who prayed and had devotions with his wife Martha. His 5th point of action was he had regular devotions with his wife Martha and stressed private devotions to his step-children.
i. Eidsmoe notes, “Many accounts establish that he and his wife, Martha, engaged in regular private devotions.”
ii. George knew he had to lead his nation and his army but he also knew the importance of having devotions with his wife. He set aside time in his busy schedule to have devotions with his wife. Even as President of the United States.
iii. His devotions consisted of prayer and Bible reading. He highly valued the Bible as the source for religious belief and principles to live by (Eidsmoe, pg. 139).
iv. He not only had devotions with his wife but he bought Bibles for his step children in 1761. He ordered Bibles and prayer books for his children so they would grow in their relationship with the Lord (139).
g. George Washington was a man of few words but when he did speak on the subject of faith he stressed the importance of it for life. His 6th point of action is expressed best in instances when he challenged his soldiers to make sure they were in the right position with the Lord prior to battles.
i. Henry Muhlenberg, pastor of the Lutheran church near Valley Forge and one of the founders of the Lutheran Church in America stated:
1. I heard a fine example today, namely, that His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and …to practice the Christian virtues. From all appearances, this gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s Word, believes in the atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness…(Federer, page 641, America’s God and Country).
ii. Washington’s prayers reveal a man of conviction and what he believed. Eidsmoe notes, “The prayers show the recognition of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, ‘my only saviour,’ whose blood was shed on the cross ‘for me,’ respect for God’s ‘holy word,’ a desire to be more like Jesus, a recognition of personal sin, a desire to be delivered from the ‘cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin,’ acknowledgement of need for the ‘means of grace,’ prayers for the rulers of church and state, and watchfulness for the ‘coming of the Lord Jesus’ and the time when ‘the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall arise and stand before the judgement seat…’”(131).
h. George Washington did not just attend church but he was involved in his church. His 7th point of action was he was a church officer in his church and served his church like he did his country – with dedication and commitment.
i. He is noted for being a giver and a servant leader.
ii. He is reported to have been very helpful in planting the Pohick church.
iii. President Washington died in 1799 and on the back of his tomb is inscribed this verse, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; sayeth the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die” (John 11:25,26a).
1. On the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. on its metal cap at 555 feet is etched these words “Praise be to God!”
2. Along the stairway of the monument the following verses are carved into the tribute blocks: (From Federer page 665,666).
a. “Suffer the Little Children to come unto me and forbid them not; for such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
b. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)
c. “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39; Acts 17:11)
d. “Holiness unto the Lord” (Exodus 28:36; 39:30; Zechariah 14:20).
e. In God we Trust!
f. God and our Native Land
g. May Heaven to this union continue it beneficence
iv. This man was a great father to many and to this nation yet he never had any children of his own.
1. His two step children came to him when he married Martha whose previous husband and the children’s father had died.
2. The MountVernon.org website states the following about Martha, “Upon first meeting Martha Washington in 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette described her in a letter to his wife as "a modest and respectable person, who loves her husband madly." By that time, George and Martha Washington had been married for 18 years -- and their marriage was to last another 22 years, until George Washington’s death in 1799.”
3. The website also noted the following about Martha, “She was born Martha Dandridge in New Kent County, Virginia, on June 2, 1731, the eldest of eight children in a respectable family of modest means. At the age of 18 she married Daniel Parke Custis, 20 years her senior and heir to a huge fortune. After 7 years of marriage, Custis died, leaving Martha with two young children and a vast estate to manage. Charming and vivacious, she was suddenly the wealthiest widow in all of Virginia -- and an excellent "catch" for the right suitor. A year and a half later, on January 6, 1759, she and a dashing, young French and Indian War hero by the name of George Washington were married at Martha’s home in southern Virginia. Shortly afterwards, Martha and her two children, Jackie and Patsy, moved to Mount Vernon.”
4. George Washington the father of this nation never had children of his own biologically but he fathered his two step children and many others in the beginning of this nation and he made a difference in their lives.
T.S. – Fathers need to be men of honor like George Washington was for America and protect their families and their nation from dishonor. Fathers also need to be their children’s best teachers.
III. Father’s need to be their children’s most influential teachers.
a. This means they teach the spiritual truths of God to their children so as to save their lives.
i. They teach them the truth of Scripture everyday to their children.
b. This means that they prepare their children to die.
i. We all need to teach our children how to die and that if we were to die tomorrow that they would be ready spiritually to meet the lord.
ii. The worst disservice a person could do to their children is to never teach them about salvation and eternity.
c. This also means that they must discipline their children when they are wrong.
i. Teaching is not just words but it also includes actions toward children who need to be corrected.
ii. Teachers always correct their children or students and let them know when something they believe is true is not or is incorrect.
iii. Parents today need to quit being their children’s friends and start being their loving teachers and parents.
d. From A Treasury of Bible Illustrations: Father’s Day: Fathers and mothers have the greatest opportunity as teachers of anyone in the world. You see, that boy or girl in the home has the chance to see if Father and Mother really believe and practice what they teach. A father who says he believes in Sunday school, and then does not go himself, is teaching by his actions that he really does not feel it very important. A father who teaches love and tolerance to all and yet maintains a critical attitude in the home toward his brothers and sisters in the church is doing a wrong to his children which never in this world can be undone. It is pure poison to the mind of the child, and will most certainly be a stumbling block in the way of the child becoming a Christian. A father who says he believes the Bible to be the greatest Book, to be God’s Word to us, but leaves it on the shelf to gather dust while he spends hours with the newspaper, magazines, radio and television is in reality saying, “Children, the Bible is not too important. You should read it if you have any extra time.” Which one of you had not heard a little boy step proudly forward among his playmates and declare, “I KNOW that’s so because my Daddy said so!” He has confidence in you, dear Dad, and the things which he sees you put first in your life are going to stand out as mighty important to him, too. Is your prayer: “Lord, fit me to be loved and imitated by my children”?
Conclusion and Summary:
I. Father’s need to make sure that they give their children the time they deserve.
II. Father’s need to be men of honor for their families.
III. Father’s need to be their children’s best teacher in life and in spiritual truths.